Public Consultation on Proposed Regulations on The Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters
1. The Ministry of Finance (“MOF”), Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (“IRAS”) have proposed regulations to allow Singapore to implement the Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters (“AEOI”), also known as the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) with effect from 1 January 2017. This is necessary in order for Singapore to meet carry out her international commitment to commence AEOI under the CRS in 2018.
2. The CRS is an internationally agreed standard for AEOI, endorsed by OECD and the Global Forum for Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (“GF”). The CRS sets out the financial account information to be exchanged, the financial institutions (“FIs”) required to report, the different types of accounts and taxpayers covered, as well as the customer due diligence procedures to be followed by FIs. More than 100 jurisdictions, including major financial centres such as Dubai, Hong Kong, Luxembourg and Switzerland, have endorsed the CRS and will commence AEOI in either 2017 or 2018.
3. MOF, MAS and IRAS are inviting public feedback on the draft Income Tax (International Tax Compliance Agreements) (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2016. The regulations include the proposed list of financial institutions and accounts that are excluded from the scope of reporting, as well as the due diligence and reporting requirements to implement the CRS.
4. The public consultation will be from 11 to 29 July 2016.
SCOPE OF THE CONSULTATION EXERCISE
5. The Regulations set out the reporting and due diligence requirements which include the following:
a. The FIs that must report;
b. The account holders and financial accounts that are subject to reporting;
c. Non-Reporting FIs and Excluded Accounts;
d. The registration requirements
e. The due diligence procedures required to identify the reportable accounts;
f. The information to be reported; and
g. The timelines for reporting the requisite information to IRAS.
6. The draft Regulations provide elaboration on how terms used within the CRS apply in the Singapore context, and provide for CRS-permitted modifications on the reporting and due diligence requirements of Singapore-based FIs. A copy of the CRS is attached as a Schedule to the draft Regulations. The CRS is accompanied by the Commentaries on the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS Commentaries”) that provide additional information on how the provisions in CRS should be interpreted to ensure consistency in application across jurisdictions. The CRS Commentaries can also be accessed here.
7. We would appreciate your support and participation to ensure that the consultation exercise is productive and focused. Respondents are requested to observe these guidelines:
a. Please identify yourself as well as the organisation you represent (if any) so that we may follow up with you to clarify your comments, if necessary.
b. Be clear and concise in your comments.
c. Focus your comments on how the Regulations can be better written to make them clearer and to make compliance easier
d. Use the prescribed template provided to organise your feedback.
e. As far as possible, please explain your points with illustrations, examples, data or alternative formulations of the amendments.
8. This draft Regulations is released only for the purpose of consultation and should therefore not be used for individual or business decisions as it does not represent the final Regulations. All comments received during the consultation exercise will be reviewed thoroughly.
PERIOD OF CONSULTATION
9. The draft Regulations is available for public consultation from 11 to 29 July 2016. We regret that comments received after 29 July 2016 will not be considered.
10. We encourage all interested participants to submit your comments via this email address, CRS@iras.gov.sg. You can also send us your comments, using the prescribed template , via:
a.email: CRS@iras.gov.sg; (Recommended mode) or
b.fax: 6351 2959; or
Exchange of Information Branch
International Tax Affairs and Relations Division
Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore
55 Newton Road
SUMMARY OF RESPONSES
11. We will publish a summary of the main comments received on the Ministry of Finance’s website , together with our responses, by the end of September 2016. The identities of respondents will not be disclosed in the summary.
DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD
Income Tax (International Tax Compliance Agreements) (Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters) Regulations 2016 (pdf)
Standard for Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters (“AEOI”), also known as the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) (https://www.oecd.org/ctp/exchange-of-tax-information/automatic-exchange-financial-account-information-common-reporting-standard.pdf)
Commentaries on the CRS
Prescribed Template for Submission of Comments (word) (pdf)
Other useful references:
You may obtain a copy of the Income Tax Act here.
 AEOI refers to the regular exchange of financial account information between jurisdictions for tax purposes, with the objective of detecting and deterring tax evasion by taxpayers.